Down on the Farm: Second Basemen

By David Egbert

Some good things are happening at second base for the Rays three minor league teams. Lets take a look.

DURHAM: Tim Beckham is the man at Durham. He’s been in the Rays organization for six years and until recently, he was known as the player they drafted instead of Buster Posey. He certainly has had his ups and downs including two drug suspensions but he may have finally put it all together. Beckham started his career as a shortstop for the Rays but was switched to second with the emergence of Hak-Ju Lee at short. Lee went down with an injury but, Beckham’s future likely remains at second. He’s an offense first ball player with tremendous bat speed and raw power. This year he has posted a .284BA/3HR/38RBI/.754OPS line. He’s still learning second base but should be a solid defender in time. Beckham’s only 23 and has time to develop into a regular second baseman or a really good utility player.

MONTGOMERY: Nobody home here. A bunch of guys named Price, O’Malley and Estrada patrol the middle infield for the Biscuits and none are a prospects. O’Malley had a cup of coffee at AAA but, for the most part, all three are maxed out at AA.

CHARLOTTE: We have something really good going at Charlotte and his name is Ryan Brett. In his fourth year in the organization, Brett is tearing up high A pitching with a .340BA/4HR/22RBI/.886OPS line He has a sweet compact swing, makes good contact and drives to ball in the gaps. Brett’s a plus runner and has stolen 22 bases so far this year. He has had a 50-game drug suspension and some injuries including having a kidney removed. However, if you add up his bat, loads of hustle and improved play around second and you can see why Brett might be the Rays’ starting second baseman in 2016 and maybe sooner.

BOWLING GREEN. A scrappy little player by the name of Tommy Coyle plays second base for the Hot Rods. He’s a left handed version of Brett without the obvious upside. A solid line drive hitter, he has put up a .282BA/6HR/47RBI/.827OPS line for the year. Add in 30+ stolen bases and excellent plate discipline and you have a promising top of the order hitter. It’s only his second year in the organization and we will see where he goes from here.

And, as the frosting on the cake, Ryan Brett has just been promoted to Montgomery and had two hits in his first game. This should be a fun group to follow.